White False Indigo, Baptisia alba macrophylla, this plant reminds me of a beefed up version of sweet clover but exercise caution if you plan on sampling it. The leaflets are entire, meaning smooth, and are larger than other members of the Pea Family. White False Indigo is considered potentially toxic and poisonous to cattle. It is sometimes misidentified and used as asparagus. Large doses are dangerous causing extreme vomiting and toxic doses can kill by asphyxiation through paralysis of the respiratory system. Both American Indians and western medicine used this plant. American Indian used it for swellings, rheumatism, sores, wounds, hemorrhoids and rattlesnake bites. The name baptisia is derived from the Greek word bapto or baptizo meaning to dye or color. Indigo have been used to produce a blue dye.
Keep your eyes and ears open and your powder dry!
White False Indigo Sources:
Audubon Guides Box Set – Birds, Tree, Wildflowers & Mammals. Computer Software.Green Mountain Digital. Version: 2.3. Web. Jul 10, 2014.
Felter, Harvey Wickes, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D. King’s American Dispensatory, Vol. 1. Cincinnati: The Ohio Valley Company, 1905. pg. 323-326
Fernald, Merritt Lyndon & Alfred Charles Kinsey. Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1996. Print. pg. 54
Foster, Steven and James A. Duke. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. 2nd. ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. Print. pg. 131
Moerman Daniel E., Native American Ethnobotany, Portland: Timber Press. 1998. Print. pg. 120
Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977. Print. pg. 60-61
Peterson, Lee Allen. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants; Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977. Print. pg. 80-81
United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Services. Web.